Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday dawned and once again I was up with it and once again it was beautiful, and once again I endured an agonising walk to the bogs. I think I had trenchfoot of the bollock region. There's something really lovely about rising with the sun on a beautiful day, especially if you have a Mrs who always makes sure that there is a cup of tea waiting. The camping field was really quiet and the few others who were up just pottered about, quietly enjoying the morning. What with the crowds and with everything else that goes on it is easy to forget that you are actually in a beautiful location.

Our Sunday morning more or less followed the routine of the previous day, minus the shopping trip. It is amazing how time can fly when you are basically doing not very much at all, apart from enjoying the weather and the company. The kids always disappear off to lark about on the racecourse itself, which puts us in the wonderful, but unaccustomed position of having time to ourselves.

Suitably rested and refreshed, we made it down to the arena in time to see the Beetroot Kings. I didn't really expect to pay much attention to them, intending merely to dump our stuff at our usual place and just lie back, soaking up the rays and the ambience. But they were good, and it wasn't long before I had been drawn down to the front. There was nothing special about them, but they had something and I can well imagine that in a club they would have the place rocking. For the time of the day that they were on, it was a very impressive performance and more than a few people were tentatively shaking a foot or a leg.

The brood had wandered off in all directions as usual, participating in the many and varied activities that are on offer. This is remarkable thing about Wychwood; it feels very safe. We park ourselves where we do because it is a very easy and identifiable spot to get back to and it never gets crowded, so it works as a safe and recognisable harbour for the kids. We then just let them go off and have fun. They didn't really bother with any of the organised activities this year and were happy to enjoy the freedom they had to just amuse themselves for about 16 hours every day.

Anyway, as early as it was, it was hot, so I once again hit the cider and once again it hit the spot. Next up on the main stage were Shtetl Superstars, who were alright, but a bit contrived and quite a few people seemed to actually get a bit pissed off. I didn't watch them, I just sat back and listened to them, enjoying the drink and sunshine and watching the world go by. I have had worse half hours.

I had, by now begun to feel really shit. There was the thigh problem, obviously, but my eyes started stinging and streaming tears and my sinuses became painful and I felt just weak. Despite the bucolic ambience, I started to feel a bit sorry for myself. Not for long though, because Justin Adams and Judeih Camara appeared on stage and just about blew the place away. It was a fantastic privilege to see this pair and their drummer; such virtuosity is rare. If you get a chance to see them go and see them, they were the definite highlight of the weekend.

Cara Dillon was pleasant enough but it all just sort of drifted by. I may have nodded off. Bellowhead were a different kettle of fish. I have their first album so knew I would like them, and they put me in mind of Barelyworks so I expected their live performance to be good. It wasn't good, it was outstanding. There was still a large crowd and just about everyone in it was bopping. hopping, jigging, reeling and dozy bloody doeing. They got the evening off to a fantastic start.

I had a brief look at The Travelling Band after Bellowhead, as everyone seemed to be raving about them. They sounded like they could be very good, but I was still feeling lousy and was in no mood for the awful sound quality in the tent they played in and didn't hang around long.

Unfortunately, the momentum built up by Bellowhead didn't last as half the crowd left once they had finished and the next band on the main stage were Dub Colossus. They should be done under the trade descriptions act as there was no dub and who the colossus is God only knows. They seemed very disengaged as they noodled some irritating jazz funk fusion shit, and I was very glad to see the back of them.

So, here we were, at the last act of the festival, and who was it? The Dhol Foundation. I thought the organisers must have taken leave of their senses. I had never heard of them, but the programme indicated that they were some sort of community youth club type ensemble. I needn't have worried. All the previously lost momentum returned, in spades and from the very first beat the crowd was jumping. Really jumping............jumping as if their very lives depended on it, and the jumping continued, joyously.

The Dhol Foundation were brilliant and brilliantly unexpected. The beats were amazing, but the best thing was the sense of fun that they brought to the occasion, the main man, Johnny must be the most engaging front man in music. What a way to end proceedings, with the whole crowd Bhangra dancing with huge smiles on their faces. I even forgot about my bollocks, albeit briefly. I don't know if their set was short, but it seemed very short. Whoever booked them as final act is a genius.

Everybody loved TDF, especially the kids, but, when it's gone, it's gone. We headed to the Silent Disco, but everything has started to feel a bit flat.I think the sun and the drink and the lack of sleep and the realisation that tomorrow we would be back in work clothes, rather than ridiculous outfits, had hit home. We didn't stay too long, and funnily enough, there were no complaints when we decided to head back to the tent.

As we crossed in front of the main stage, walking on an enormous bed of crushed plastic, my nipper noticed that the songlines tent was just closing up. He remembered that TDF had said that they would be in there, signing stuff and he hared off across the field. I tried to keep up with him, as best as my grievously afflicted bollock region would allow, and bugger me they were there and were more than happy to hoist the little chap aloft to have a picture taken with them. By Christ that boy was pleased and proud. TDF will always be heroes in our house.

And that was that, apart from sitting up drinking with the good companions until about 3 am, until the cold once again proved too much and the pit beckoned.

A Wychwood Spotify playlist.

Some pics.

Some more reviews


The Sun

Talking of geniuses, the man who invented sudocreme will always be welcome in this house!
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